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- This country is a part of Altverse.
|Commonwealth of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
Welsh: Gymanwlad Britannia
Motto: Pax Quæritur Bello
Peace is obtained through war
Anthem: Rule, Britannia!
Location of Britain
and largest city
|Recognised regional languages||Welsh, Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Ulster Scots, Irish|
|Demonym||British, Briton, Brit (informal)|
|Government||Parliamentary elective monarchical commonwealth|
|Elizabeth, Lady of Windsor|
|William Fawcett (Con.)|
|House of State|
|House of Commons|
• Acts of Union 1699
|May 1st, 1699|
|17th March 1930 - 25th March 1930|
|242,495 km2 (93,628 sq mi) (80th)|
• 2015 estimate
|GDP (PPP)||2015 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2015 estimate|
• Per capita
very high · 11th
|Currency||Pound Sterling (£)|
|Time zone||GMT (UTC+0)|
• Summer (DST)
|Date format||dd/mm/yyyy (AD)|
|Drives on the||left|
Saint George (England)|
Saint Andrew (Scotland)
Saint David (Wales)
Saint Patrick (Northern Ireland)
The Commonwealth of Great Britain and Northern Ireland more commonly known as Britain, is a sovereign state consisting of all three countries on the isle of Great Britannia, those being England, Scotland, and Wales as well as several smaller islands along with fifteen overseas territories. A fourth constituent country, Northern Ireland is located on the island of Ireland. One special administrative regions exist within the Commonwealth, that being the City of London. It has border the Republic of Ireland, otherwise being surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean.
The relationships among the countries of the Commonwealth have changed over time. Wales was annexed by the Kingdom of England in 1543. In 1699 England, Scotland and France, unified as Britannia-France becoming the worlds dominant imperialist power. The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars meant that British sovereignty lessened substantially over France in the late 18th and 19th, before completely ending in 1848 after the second French Revolution. In 1922 Ireland rebelled against British rule, forming the Republic of Ireland.
In 1922 a series of riots saw the Lord Protector assume absolute power dissolving parliament until 1929 when a British Revolution saw the imperial government dissolved. Snap elections were held that saw the revolutionary British Socialist Labour Party win power. Committed to an early form of socialism, the new government created a large welfare state in Britannia. During World War II, the government led by Winston Churchill successfully fought against the Nazis. After the war Britain started to dismantle its large empire, declaring neutrality in the Cold War, wishing to maintain its status as a socialised democratic state. Many of its colonies were granted independence during the Cold War. During the 1980's economic deregulation was implemented by Margaret Thatcher which resulted in a raise in the GDP alongside pronounced inequality, as the government started to further reforms making Britannia into a mixed economy that balanced out a booming private sector with an expansive state maintained one.
Currently Britain operates under a federal parliamentary commonwealth with an elected constitutional monarch. Britain is ranked as a major power as well as being a nuclear weapons state having a large economy. Once possessing an empire covering a quarter of the globe Britain has a large influence with its language and culture prevalent around the world. Britain, whilst no longer the superpower it was in the 19th century, is still one of the most powerful nations politically, culturally, scientifically, militarily, and economically. It is part of the League of Nations currently holding a permanent seat on the security council s well as being a leading member of NATO, the Commonwealth of Nations, G7, G8, Council of Europe, World Trade Organization, and the G20.
Britannia comes from the Roman occupation of the island, deriving from the Greek words Prettanike or Brettaniai, and the term used to describe the natives of the islands (Britons).
Norman Invasion (1066)
In 1066 the kingdom of England was ruled by Saxon king Harold Godwinson ruled over the Kingdom of England, but his rule was challenged by the French nobleman William of Normandy and Norwegian king Harald Hardrada. William was reportedly promised the throne by Godwinsons predecessor Edward the Confessor while Hardrada humiliated after his failed defeats in his wars with the Danish sought to expand his kingdom further.
Hardrada landed first into the northern regions of England quickly overrunning York. Godwinson marched his army quickly to York, catching the Vikings by surprise and massacring them all including Hardrada. It was then did William attack the south of the kingdom of England from the cliffs of Dover, before facing staunch resistance. Williams and Godwinsons Army met at the Battle of Hastings which resulted in a resounding victory for William, who crowned himself King of England shortly thereafter.
English Civil War (1629-1651)The events that inspired the later socialist revolution of Britain was the English Civil War. Prior to war reigning English king Charles I had caused a rift to form between him and the English parliament. This rift was caused partly by Charles belief in the Divine Right of Kings that granted him complete control of England and Scotland in lieu of parliament (a view imposed onto him by his father James I ). Charles also caused controversy due to his alleged Roman Catholic beliefs, with the Church of England being the state religion.
Relationships between the two parties became worse as Charles dissolved parliament from 1629-1640 in a period known as "Eleven years of Tyranny". Although Charles was able to broker peace with both the Kingdom of France and the Kingdom of Spain the Crown's debts were still to large for the king to pay off with parliament refusing to give any of their revenue towards him. After facing a rebellion in Scotland and failing to create a uniform British church, Charles reformed parliament, but quickly dissolved it again after they refused to invade Scotland. This invasion failed with the Scotland instead pushing into English borders. Unable to raise funds to supply the English army, Charles reformed parliament.
This parliament started to question Charles legitimacy as a ruler, and accused Charles of supporting Irish Catholic insurgents in Ireland, as well as stating many nobles of being guilty of treason. After an unsuccessful attempt to arrest five members of parliament Charles fled from London to the north of England. This soon led to the country becoming divided as areas of England proclaimed themselves as either allies to parliament (Parliamentarians) or loyal to Charles (Royalists).
The early stages of the war went well for Royalist forces, but by 1643 thanks to the leadership of Oliver Cromwell, Thomas Fairfax and Robert Devereux (especially the latters during the First Battle of Newbury) the Parliamentarians were able to gain the advantage. In 1647 Charles was handed to parliament by the Scottish where he was placed under house arrest. Aside from a new minor Royalist uprisings parliament had effective control of England, with its dominant leader being Oliver Cromwell, who formed the Rump parliament in an effective military coup to cement Parliamentarian control over England.
Charles was put on trial for treason, with Charles being executed by beheading on the 30th January 1649, with the monarchy being effectively abolished and the war ending. The Rump Parliament established an English Republic under the Council of State, abolishing the House of Lords. Charles's son, Charles II, however, managed to escape to the Netherlands.
Ireland was subjected to harsh treatment by the army with Cromwell ordering the massacre of many Irish Catholics, and eventually ending the Irish Catholic Confederation putting Ireland under British control. Britannia became rather unique in maintaining a system of nobility despite having no king, instead creating the position of "Lord Protector", selected by the Council of State.
The Protectorate (1653-1701)
In 1653 the Rump parliament was dissolved under the orders of Cromwell, who, along with John Lambert, drafted the Instrument of Government which vested executive power in the hands of a Lord Protector, a semi-elective head of state who functioned as a military dictator. Cromwell was appointed as Lord Protector, and declared England would now be known as the "Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland". Power was further vested in the hands of the New Model Army who effectively controlled the government. The Lord Protector also held complete power over British overseas territories, namely the thirteen British Colonies in America.
In 1652, a dispute between English and Dutch territory in the East Indies brought along the Anglo-Dutch war. The Commonwealth scored a decisive victory, with Cromwell able to broker a peace treaty between the Commonwealth and the Dutch Republic. As well as this, Cromwell engaged in the Anglo-Spanish War in 1654.
Cromwell died in 1658, naming his successor as Charles Fleetwood. Fleetwood was able to gain the support of the New Model Army, with his aide's including General Lambert. Fleetwood's first decision was to order the execution of George Monck who posed a significant political threat, as well as placing Richard Cromwell under house arrest. Fleetwood soon led a bloodless coup in parliament installing loyal members of the New Model Army, with the army effectively having complete control over Britain and Ireland. Fleetwood then arranged a peace treaty with Spain ending the Anglo-Spanish wars.
Fleetwood's appointment brought a wave of optimism to the English as he relaxed some of Cromwell's more puritan policies. Riding this wave of popularity Fleetwood led the second Anglo-Dutch war, which unlike its predecessor, led to an embarrassing defeat. Fleetwood, fearing for his position, led the third Anglo-Dutch war due to continued war treaties with France forcing him to do so. This led to another defeat, with parliament forcing Fleetwood to sign a peace treaty with the Dutch.
Fleetwood sought to expand Britain's overseas territories, especially in the African continent. He commissioned the formation of the London African Company, which was set up to exploit Gambian gold fields, but soon ignited the slave trade from the West Coast of Africa to the Americas. Fleetwood died in 1692 with Harold Dudley, 1st Viscount Dudley taking power in his place. Scotland also started to build up their own empire in 1695 by trying to establish their own colonies, resulting in the Darien scheme. The Darien Scheme was a financial disaster for Scotland, and in 1701 an Act of Union between England and Scotland was enacted, formally uniting their parliaments.
Unification with France (1685-1699)
During the reign of French King Louis XIV, he started to marry off members of the French royal family to neighbouring states in an attempt to improve the standing of France among these states. The Duchy of Burgundy, an ally of both the Kingdom of France and the Commonwealth of Britannia (who were fierce rivals), was poised to be the next state Louis intended to forge a more permanent alliance with. As France could offer more economic and military aid to Burgundy then Britain, the Lord Protector of Britain, Earl John Norfolk, was loathe to lose such an ally. Norfolk personally renounced his previous Catholic beliefs in favour of protestant ones to gain support from the British parliament who then allowed him to order a blockade around France in an effort to halt French expansion. Rather then deter Louis, the French king instead endeavoured to forcibly take the British throne by force, and ordered his fleet to mobilise.
In response Norfolk had his military generals rally the armies of Britain. The Royal army was a well equipped fighting force, trained to a high standard and fed well. Louis, although aware of this, sent a small force to attack the British isles, and was swiftly repelled as a result. Norfolk ordered the full force of his armies to take France, smashing through Louis's navy in the first Battle of the Channel and landing in Calais. Louis had his forces meet the British army, thinking he would be able to push them off of the nation with support from Burgundy
However, Burgundy proved loyal to England, with Grand Duke Charles II of Burgundy giving munitions and supplies to British forces. The Grand Duke reasoned that Burgundys strong ties to Britannia, and his own hesitation regarding a royal marriage between France and Burgundy spurred him into allying with Britain. The state of Scotland also gave support to Britain, as did the Netherlands, which were keen to remove France as an imperial power. On November 13th, 1687, Paris was taken and the royal family imprisoned. Louis's firstborn son Louis was appointed as Prince Louis XV of France.
Shortly after the invasion of France, Norfolk died, appointing Thomas Essex as his successor. Essex formally unified Britain, Scotland and France together under the 1699 Act of Union. Louis became Duke of France, and Essex the Lord Protector of Britain, Scotland, Ireland and France. Louis pardoned his father in what was seen as a controversial decision - however the deposed king spent the rest of his life in peace on the island of Corsica.
The fall of France was seen as a challenge to the balance of power in Europe - however, Philip V of Spain (also related to the French royal family) managed to establish Spain as France's successor and Britain-France's chief rival.
During the late 1770s, Britain-France found itself in conflict with it's thirteen colonies in North America. Lord Protector Morgan Gloucestershire had enacted several new taxes on the colonies including the Tea Tax and the Stamp Tax, both of which were massively unpopular. The Boston Tea Party was the first act of civil disobedience against these new taxes when American colonists in Boston dumped a shipment of tea into the harbour. Gloucestershire refused to tolerate any more unrest and sent 1,000 troops to patrol the streets of New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. The deployment initially succeeded in it's intended goal to restore order and reaffirm the UK's control over the colonies. However, on March 5, 1770, five American colonists were killed in what is known as Britain as the incident on Kings Street. The United States historically maintained that British soldiers fired upon peaceful protests against Gloucestershire's new taxes, while Britain argued that the colonists threatened the soldiers, which compelled them to fire. In any case, the incident is often credited with starting the American War of Independence.
The American campaign was led by George Washington, a veteran who had participated in Britain-French conflicts with the Native Americans. Washington found himself in a major uphill battle. Britain-France had the largest and best-equipped navy at the time, and plenty of reserve troops ready to be sent to America at a moment's notice. The British-French and Washington's army engaged in several battles which Britain-France won decisively. After about two years of defeat, Washington began to adopt a guerilla-style of warfare. With this, Washington's performance began to improve. Britain-French soldiers often themselves taken by surprise and it began wearing down on Britain-France's resources and morale. Supporters of holding the colonies at the war's start began promoting peace. As well as this several French aristocrats who opposed British rule, including the House of Bourbon, gave huge financial aid to the American rebels, as well as sending over their private armies. On July 4, 1776, the American separatists declared their formal independence from Britain-France, establishing the United States of America. Gloucestershire made the controversial decision to end the war effort and withdraw all troops from America.
Britain-France's defeat was a major embarrassment and other European monarchies began to lose confidence in Britain-France. Many began to see it as being in over its head and unable to control its overseas possessions.
French revolution (1789-1799)
In 1789 anger over the British rule began to arise in France. In particular, the dictatorial rule of the British governors and the erosion of French culture coupled with the financial neglect of French citizens caused mass civil unrest and hatred towards the aristocracy and clergy. The aristocrats who had funded the American Revolution were in debt, and were unable to pay fines to the British government making France to become almost bankrupt. The French public on the 14th July 1789 stormed the French prison known as the Bastille, soon overthrowing much of the ruling aristocracy. Feudalism was abolished and the first form of human rights, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, was formulated. Eventually French Prince Louis XVI (a puppet of the British government) was executed and British rule renounced.
Under the newly proclaimed republic, France conquered large parts of Europe much to the alarm of the British government. Britain, rather then intervene, however, sought to consolidate its own forces. In 1793 the radical Jacobite movement lead by Maximilien de Robespierre took over the government, instigating the "Period of Terror". After Robespierre's execution, a coup covertly funded by Britannia appointed military general Napoleon Bonaparte. The British government hoped Napoleon would re-create the union of Britain and France once again, but instead he formed the first French empire.
After Napoleon's defeat, Britain regained control over France with the support of the Congress of Vienna, installing the Prince Louis XVIII. However, after years of unrest, a second French Revolution in 1848 overthrew British control once more and created the second French republic, which would later degenerate into an empire under Napoleon III.
Britannian Revolution and Interwar Years
World War Two
On the 1st September 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Two days later, Chamberlain in an address to the nation formally declared war on Germany alongside France, starting the Second World War in Europe. The dominions of Australia, and New Zealand declared war on Germany intermediately, as did Canada and Union of South Africa shortly afterwards. The British Expeditionary Force was quickly deployed in France to defend it from a possible German invasion.
Post War Period
Modern HistoryThe 1994 elections saw the Labour Party under new leader Tony Blair win a majority in parliament with several members of the Conservative Party being accused of embezzlement. In 2001 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks Blair under pressure from parliament formally negotiated the joining of NATO to assist in the War on Terror with the United States, deploying troops into Afghanistan soon after. In 2003 Blair bypassed parliament to support the US George Bush government in the invasion of Iraq, despite heavy opposition from his own party. The Labour reputation reached an all time nadir just before the 2005 July bombings.
In the 2005 elections, the Labour Party under Blair managed a narrow victory, despite voter turnout being low. In their initial years the Labour continued to facilitate economic growth. However the Great Recession in 2008 caused the economy to contract, with the pound starling losing a fraction of its value, and import prices rising. The new prime minister and former chancellor John Wilbur responded by bailing out the banks which raised the deficit. Wilbur held a snap election in 2007 that saw the Labour Party's majority decrease.The armed forces participated in the LN intervention during the Libyan civil war in 2011. Rioting in 2011 also took place around the country with 6 people killed. The Labour Party also managed to legalise same-sex marriage between LGBT+ couples in Britain. The 2012 Britain hosted the Olympic and Paralympic games. Britain along with the US and Sierra also was one of the main advocates of the LNSC reform, and have provided military aid to the Turkish government in the 2014 Turkish-Islamic Conflict as well as supporting the Flemish People's Republic in the Flemish Revolution.
In 2012 elections were held in Britain. The election resulted in the Conservative Party under William Fawcett winning a slight majority. Since then austerity has been implemented alongside reforms to the health, welfare and education sectors.
Countries and administrative divisions
There are four countries in the Commonwealth of Britain - England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. England is the largest of countries and also contains the de facto capital and largest city of Britain, London within it, where the Houses of Parliament (the seat of government) is located. The Assembly of England is also located in London. Scotland is the second largest country in Britain, with its capital being Edinburgh. Wales is located to the west of Britain, with Cardiff being its capital. Northern Ireland is located on the island of Ireland with its Assembly being based in Belfast.
|Protectorate of England||53,012,456||London|
|Protectorate of Scotland||5,313,600||Edinburgh|
|Protectorate of Wales||3,063,456||Cardiff|
|Protectorate of Northern Ireland||1,848,183||Belfast|
There is one special administrative region within the Commonwealth; the City of London, which is located in England. Although the subject to British laws they enjoy a limited degree of autonomy.
|City of London||7,375||N/A|
There are fifteen overseas territories of Britain. These territories are officially governed by Parliament and are subject to Parliaments law. Some (such as Gibraltar and Bermuda) function as special economic zones in a similar manner to the City of London whilst others (such as Dhekelia and the British Indian Ocean Territory) serve as military installations.
|Dhekelia (under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence)||7,000 (about half British military and staff);||Episkopi Cantonment|
|British Antarctic Territory||~50||Rothera Research Station|Rothera}} (main base)|
|Britannian Indian Ocean Territory||About 3,000 British and Westlandic military and staff.||Diego Garcia (base)|
|Britannian Virgin Islands||27,000||Road Town|
|Cayman Islands||54,878||George Town|
|Montserrat||4,655||Plymouth (abandoned due to volcano—de facto capital is Brades)|
|Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha|| 5,530 Total|
4,255 (Saint Helena only; 2008 census)
|South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands||99||King Edward Point|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||32,000 (2006 census estimate)||Cockburn Town|
Britain also has three state dependencies. Whilst they are not sovereign nations they are also not legally part of the commonwealth, but rather swear allegiance to the "Crown Sovereign" (recognised as the Lord Protector) and are responsible for maintaining their own governments that decide on all but foreign relations which are handled by the central government in London.
|Isle of Man||84,497||Douglas|
|Guernsey||65,345||St Peter Port|
This article is part of the series:
Britain officially maintains a parliamentary commonwealth with an elected constitutional monarchy. The head of state is the Lord Protector, who enjoys limited power and appointed by the House of State. The Head of Government is the prime minister, who is the leader of the majority party or coalition in the House of Commons. Britain has no formally codified constitution, being based around varies parliamentary acts, decrees, court judgements, and treaties.
Using a bicameral legislature, the Commonwealth maintain two houses: the House of State (Upper House) and the House of Commons (Lower House). The House of State is intended to represent the British State and the House of Commons the population as a whole. Traditionally members of the House of State are appointed by the government, are hereditary peers or are members of the Lord Spiritual. The House of Commons meanwhile is made up of a representative of each constituency in Britain, who is elected democratically using a first past the post system. The party with the most members in the House of Commons makes up the incumbent government, with the leader of the party being the Prime Minister. Currently, the Conservative Party holds a majority government with leader William Fawcett being prime minister. Multiple political parties exist in the Commonwealth, with the Labour Party and the Conservatives having remained the dominant parties in Britain since 1945.
The Cabinet of Ministers is the main executive body of Britain with members being appointed by the Prime Minister and approved by the Paramount Leader. The Cabinet is made up of a council of ministers who have control over various functions (eg. education, defence, foreign affairs, etc).The Lord Protector possesses a limited amount of power as head of state. They can declare war, appoint ministers, dissolve parliament and amend laws. The Lord Protector also functions as head of the military and of the Church of England. In times of war or what the Lord Protector would deem an emergency he may override all protocols and become the Supreme ruler, having absolute control over Britain. The Lord Protector is appointed by the House of State, and retains their position until death unless they chooses to step down. The current Lord Protector is Elizabeth, Lady of Windsor. In practice these powers are ceremonial.
Each of the four member countries have a devolved parliament who possess limited power over their respective countries. The Scottish, English, Welsh and Northern Irish governments enjoy a great degree of autonomy with full legislative powers. However the central parliament can veto any law put forward by these devolved parliaments if they deemed unreasonable by a majority vote. Currently the Scottish government is headed by the Scottish nationalist party, and the English and the Welsh the Labour party. The regional parliaments main power is held over agriculture, education, environmental policies, health and social services, housing, law and order, local government, sport and the arts, tourism and economic development and transportation. The central government passes law related to benefits and social security, immigration, defence, foreign policy, employment, broadcasting, trade and industry, energy, consumer rights, data protection, and the Constitution.
The Special Administrative region of the City of London serves as one of the primary businesses centres on the planet, which serves as one of the only places where international companies can reside in Britannia.
Main article: List of Political Parties in Britain
- Conservative Party of Britain - The Conservative Party holds the distinction of being one of the oldest parties in the world, and has in the past often held a majority government. The Tories have advocated conservative and unionist policies. They currently hold a majority government in Britain with William Fawcett serving as their leader.
- Labour Party of Britain - A democratic socialist party formed in 1945 after the Second World War, being the successor of the British Socialist Labour Party. They are the current opposition party of Britannia holding the second most amount of seats in the House of Commons. Their leader is Jeremy Corbyn, a democratic socialist. The Labour Party is a mix of moderate centrists to hardline socialists, with social democrats being the dominant faction.
- Liberal Democrats Party - The Liberal Democrats are currently the fourth largest party in Britain. Traditionally the Liberal Democrats advocate social liberalism, as well as often supporting progressive social policies.
- Scottish Nationalist Party - A Scottish party that advocates Scottish independence. Despite traditionally being a centre-right party they have increasingly shifted towards the left in recent years to attain more votes from the Scottish electorate. They achieved a breakthrough in 2015 elections, winning nearly all Scottish seats in the House of Commons.
- Party of Wales - The Party of Wales have traditionally held a place at the Welsh Assembly and are one of the oldest parties in Britain. The CPW follow a socialist ideology as well as advocating Welsh nationalism.
- Commonwealth Independence Party - Founded on a Eurospectic platform CIP have recently found electoral success in Britain following the 2014 European parliament elections. The party promotes economic liberalism, traditional conservatism and opposition to immigration.
- Democratic Unionist Party - A Northern Irish Unionist party founded by Ian Paisley the DUP have often endorsed conservative views. It is linked with the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster and other Protestant churches in Northern Ireland. The DUP has often been aligned with the Conservative Party in Parliament.
- Strassonist Party of Britain - A London based party that wishes Britannia to transition into a Strassonist state like Westland. It performed well in the 1990 elections but a successful smear campaign by the Socialist Party has reduced their standing in elections.
- Union of British Nationalists - The UBN promote fascism, Thatcherism and White Nationalism. The UBN website states they are reformists who want to bring Britannia back into "the glory days of Churchill". The leader, John Anderson, has denied the party is racist stating the ruling government is confusing them with the National Front, which has been described as the UBN's unofficial paramilitary wing.
- Main article: Foreign relations of Britain
Britain maintains a policy of neutrality in international affairs, despite being a member of NATO. It holds a permanent seat of the League of Nations security council, as well as being a member of the Council of Europe. It is also a G7, G8 and G20 nation. Britain is also a key player in the Commonwealth of Nations, the OSCE and the World Trade Organization.
Britain maintains good relations with most countries within the EU, with particularly good relations with the two other European powers - Spain and France. Britain also supports ex-communist nations like Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Ukraine, within the EU. Britain have friendly relations between Commonwealth nations, such as India Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa.
Britain maintains good relations with the majority of nations in the IOSS. In particular, Britain has full trade with Cuba, opposing the US embargo. Britain also have good relations with observer states within IOSS such as Bulgaria, Peru and Mongolia. Britain was a strong supporter of the presidency of Hugo Chávez, and retain close ties with Venezuela. Britain aided the leftist pro-government forces in the Chilean Civil War, and remains strong ally of Chile.
Britain has maintained stable relations with the United States, Sierra, France, Russia and China. Britannia retains heavy economic ties between all the nations, but has resolved to "neither support nor oppose any of the current world power". Many see Britain's membership in NATO as a clear contradiction of this as well as their recent opposition to Russia during the 2014 Ukraine crisis.
MilitaryBritannia's armed forces are known as the Commonwealth Armed Forces, and are divided into three branches - the Commonwealth Naval Services (split into the Commonwealth Marines and Commonwealth Navy) the Commonwealth Air Forces and the Commonwealth Army. The Ministry of Defence handles matters related to defence, with the Defence Council controlling the military directly. The Paramount Leader serves as the Commander in Chief of the military. Britain is a nuclear weapons state, and maintains one of the most powerful military force on Earth with a defence budget of £45.4 billion (around $74.2 billion).
Britain's nuclear program is known as the Trident Nuclear program and consists of four Vanguard-class submarines each armed with Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles. Britain has the capability to fire thermonuclear weapons. One Trident submarine is always on active patrol around the world and its location disclosed; another is always nominally undergoing maintenance and the last two on training and naval excises.
The first nuclear weapon (known as Operation Hurricane) launched by Britain was a 25 kiloton weapon detonated in 1952 on the Montebello Islands, West Australia. The current Trident program was started in the 1980's, and has been retained despite opposition to its renewal.
EconomyBritain's economy is a mixture of central planning, state ownership of large enterprises, and private trading and service ventures. Its mixed economy has been praised as being a prime example of a booming private sector working alongside a state dominated one, similar to the social democracies of the Nordic countries. Britain has the third largest economy in Europe and the eighth largest economy in the world. The national currency of Britain is the pound sterling, which holds more value then both the US dollar and the Euro. Britain has a large industrial and service sector, with primary exports including coal, steel, automotive vehicles and components, and petroleum based fuel products. Consumer goods such as high quality electronics, pharmaceuticals, entertainment (such as television, films and music), and food are produced in Britain. Britain's pharmaceutical and computer industries have seen significant development, with its primary markets being located in Europe. Britain has sought to balance out welfare and socialist policies with capitalism that allows it economic growth. Britain has been praised for maintaining a high standard of living, although critics say that the cost of living is very expensive.
Britain's state owned industries have been described as using a "bottom up" approach with workers' self-management being carried out via collective workers councils. A variety of businesses sectors are owned by the central government, but workers councils largely run the businesses on behalf of the government, who would ultimately have the final say on how the businesses is run. The central government along with labour unions formulate workers rights, wages and wealth distribution whilst the workers councils decide on how the business should be run in a way that would not only increase profits but also satisfy the needs of the workers. Each worker is entitled to posses one vote whenever new company policy is formulated. This method has proven to be controversial as the government has been accused of not monitoring businesses that do not let their workers councils make policy decisions instead relying on a select group of technocrats. Unemployment has been a chronic problem in Britain especially since the 2008 Great Recession, with figures being as high as 25.4% in 2009. Forced austerity measures have resulted in accusations that the government has failed to maintain the welfare state nominally supported, with food banks having become increasingly common. The election of Eric Victor in 2010 saw the gradual scaling back of austerity, with unemployment becoming 12.8% in 2013.Private ownership is allowed in Britain although it functions under a degree of regulations. Around 51% of the economy is privately owned, most notably in the service sector which has expanded in Britain. Britain expects most companies to comply with labour laws and usually are controlled partly by unions.
Special economic zones exist in various places in Britain, most notable the City of London, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Bermuda, Jersey and Guernsey. These regions have much less government regulation then that of Britain proper, and thus have become economic hubs for foreign investment and companies. The City of London especially has a large concentration of millionaires and has been compared to Hong Kong, which itself served as a special economic zone before it was passed to China.
Key industries in Britain include the tourism industry, which has seen a notable rise in recent years thanks to the reopening of Buckingham Palace and the 2012 London Olympics.
The British government currently maintains an expansive welfare system which aims to provide facilities for healthcare, housing, employment, education, and social security. Every citizen is granted by the Constitution the right to access of the welfare state and its facilities. The first incarnation of a welfare state in Britain dates back to the 1906 general elections, in which the Liberal Party implemented welfare reforms following the rise of the Labour Party. The Britannian revolution saw an expansive welfare system created, with the creation of the National Health Service. Also after the revolution, the government became committed to providing affordable housing in Britain, with housing prices forcibly slashed as they became reformed as council houses. Communal apartments were also created for those on low income, and almost all stated basic needs (such as heating, water and electricity) were subsidised partly by the government. As of 2015 this policy is no longer in effect.
In 2005 the Conservative government implemented controversial welfare reform that saw previous government subsidies to housing and employment cut in order to "stimulate the economy". The Golding ministry from 2005 furthered this by slowly increasing austerity and making further cuts mostly in education and employment. These changes became hugely unpopular with unemployment rates became astronomically high in 2009. The current Labour government reduced austerity measures and reversed most of the extreme cuts. However new taxes, higher tax rates and cuts in pensions and welfare has led to controversy within Britain.
The state religion of Britain is the Church of England - however, in practice Britain has freedom of religion. 68.9% of people identify themselves as Christian, 24.3% Atheist/Agnostic, 4.4 Muslim, 1.3 Hindu, and 1.1% other faiths. Catholicism is the only religion banned in Britain, although the Freedom of Religion Act of 1992 has rendered this ban to be largely ceremonial.